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[photo, Nancy S. Grasmick Building, 6 North Liberty St., Baltimore, Maryland] Origins of the Maryland Higher Education Commission trace to 1963, when the Advisory Council on Higher Education was formed (Chapter 41, Acts of 1963). The Council was renamed the Maryland Council on Higher Education in 1968 (Chapter 130, Acts of 1968). The State Board for Higher Education replaced the Council in 1976 (Chapter 538, Acts of 1976). The Board in turn was superseded in 1988 by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Nancy S. Grasmick Building, 6 North Liberty St., Baltimore, Maryland, March 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

In 1988, the Maryland Higher Education Commission implemented a reorganization of Maryland universities and colleges (Chapter 246, Acts of 1988). In 1991, when the State Board for Community Colleges was abolished, its functions transferred to the Commission.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission coordinates the growth and development of post-secondary education in Maryland. In keeping with the goals outlined in the State Plan for Higher Education, the Commission establishes statewide policies for public and private colleges and universities, and for private career schools. The Commission reviews and approves the start-up and continuation of new colleges and universities in Maryland, as well as requests for new academic programs at established schools. In 1991, State funding was extended to community colleges and to eligible independent colleges and universities.

State Plan for Postsecondary Education. Every four years, the Commission reviews and updates the State Plan for Postsecondary Education, and reports on the status and needs of postsecondary education in Maryland (Code Education Article, sec. 11-105). The Plan is developed consistent with the Maryland Charter for Higher Education (adopted in 1988) which sets forth State goals for higher education (Code Education Article, secs. 10-201 through 10-212).

The Commission's twelve members are appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent. Eleven serve five-year terms; a student member has a one-year term. The Governor names the chair (Code Education Article, secs. 11-101 through 11-206).

Under the Commission is the Division of Planning and Academic Affairs and four offices: Budget and Administration; Finance Policy and Facilities; Outreach and Grants Management; and Student Financial Assistance. The Maryland Fire-Rescue Education and Training Commission also assists the Commission.


Appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent, the Secretary of Higher Education oversees the State's system of higher education. The Secretary chairs the Segmental Advisory Council, and serves on the Governor's Executive Council; the Governor's Subcabinet for International Affairs; the Smart Growth Subcabinet; the College Savings Plans of Maryland Board; the Commission on Civic Literacy; the Education Coordinating Committee; the Education and Workforce Training Coordinating Council for Correctional Institutions; the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority; the Governor's Commission on Hispanic Affairs; the Coordinating Council for Juvenile Services Educational Programs; the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center Governing Board; the Maryland Advisory Commission on Manufacturing Competitiveness; the Interdepartmental Advisory Committee for Minority Affairs; the P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland; the Southern Maryland Higher Education Council; the Southern Regional Education Board; the Student Transfer Advisory Committee; the Governor's Warrior to Worker Council; the Governor's Workforce Investment Board; and the Board of Directors, Maryland Workforce Corporation.

"Between Morning and Night": Maryland Fire-Rescue Services Memorial scupture (2006), by Rodney Carroll, Calvert St., Annapolis, Maryland, July 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, Nancy S. Grasmick Building, 6 North Liberty St., Baltimore, Maryland] OFFICE OF STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Nancy S. Grasmick Building, Ground Suite
6 North Liberty St., Baltimore, MD 21201

As the State Scholarship Board, the Office of Student Financial Assistance began in 1961 (Chapter 412, Acts of 1961). The Board reorganized in 1988 as the State Scholarship Administration under the Maryland Higher Education Commission (Chapter 246, Acts of 1988). On July 1, 2002, the Administration was renamed the Office of Student Financial Assistance (Chapters 315 and 429, Acts of 2002).

Nancy S. Grasmick Building, 6 North Liberty St., Baltimore, Maryland, March 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

The Office is responsible for all State student financial aid programs, administering over $93 million in such aid in Maryland. Financial aid programs include need-based grants which are awarded on the basis of the student's ability to pay; merit-based scholarships given to students with special talents; career-based scholarships for students entering certain workforce programs; awards to unique populations, such as military veterans; and legislative scholarships. Students may use this aid at community colleges, independent colleges and universities, private career schools, and State public four-year institutions.

Through the Maryland College Aid Processing System (MCAPS), the Office processes State scholarship applications and allocates available funds. Using this System, students can apply on-line for certain scholarships, check application status, accept or decline awards, and change enrollment status.


Formed in 1988, the Division of Planning and Academic Affairs approves academic programs and new institutions, and oversees postsecondary institutions, including private career schools. The needs of education and training programs as well as plans for such programs are analyzed by the Division.

Under the Division of Planning and Academic Affairs are the Maryland Digital Library, and three offices: Academic Affairs; Information Technology; and Research, Planning and Policy Analysis.

The approval process for postsecondary institutions wishing to offer certificates, degrees or diplomas in Maryland is coordinated by the Office of Academic Affairs. The Office establishes minimum requirements for academic programs and provides information about approved programs and the approval process. It also oversees the regulation of private career schools in Maryland.

The Office sets academic and financial standards for the Maryland Higher Education Commission to approve and provides information on how to open a school. For students, the Office maintains lists of approved schools and those which have closed. Enrollment figures, completion rates, and pass rates of graduates on any licensure examination are published by the office. To protect students, the Office may take legal action against schools when necessary.


The Office of Research, Planning and Policy Analysis originated in 1976 as Research, Planning, and Evaluation. In 1985, it reorganized as Research, Planning, and Information Systems. Under the Division of Planning and Academic Affairs since 1988, it reformed as the Division of Policy Analysis and Research in 1997. In June 2001, the Division became the Office of Policy Analysis and Research. The Office reorganized further in 2008 as the Office of Planning, Research Analysis, and Workforce Development. It reformed under its present name in 2010.

For the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the Office studies major issues in postsecondary education. The Office also collects and analyzes data later reported in the Commission's annual Data Book and Trend Book and on the Internet. For public colleges and universities, the Office coordinates the yearly performance accountability process and prepares enrollment projections.

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2015

July 1, 2015

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